Drama in Production

One Semester Course
Open to 10, 11, 12
Range of difficulty 1-4

1. Rationale

Drama in Production (sometimes Shakespeare in Production) merges the study of drama with actual productions; the course has resulted in productions such as Ah, Wilderness, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Oresteia , Winter’s Tale, Macbeth, Twelfth Night, The Tempest, All’s Well That Ends Well, Measure for Measure, Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It. The course is designed to make plays accessible to virtually any student by careful reading and by demonstrating how a play is actually produced. We feel it is important to get as many different kinds of students involved in productions as possible, and Drama in Production gives us the opportunity to involve students in the collaborative effort of producing a play.

2. Topics and Themes Emphasized

Students are asked to read the plays covered by the course and then to consider how those plays might be produced, either on stage, as movies, or as television. The plays are studied as text first; we then move on to various elements of production style, including setting, costume, period, props, lighting, sound, direction style, and acting style. All students must participate in the fall LSB Players production in some capacity, either on-stage or back-stage; each student’s final exam grade is based on his or her participation in the production.

3. Methods and Sample Assignments

Class discussion is critical; often we discuss meaning in a script first, and then we discuss how that meaning can be brought out in a production by using the various elements of production. We also have staged readings, recitations, and scene presentations in class from plays other than the play to be produced. There is also regular academic work, including reading quizzes, tests, and papers; assignments are based on the discussion of actual production of a play, and the play as text. As stated above, the final exam assignment is a student’s work on the LSB Players production in whatever capacity, including: acting, directing, lights, makeup, costume, publicity, set, business, house management, props, sound, tickets, and program. A student is graded on effort, initiative, the ability to cooperate with fellow students and staff, and her or his overall willingness to work on the production.

4. Expectations for Students

Students are expected to read between four and eight plays in a semester, depending on the particular playwright or playwrights being studied. There is nightly reading.

There is a paper assignment on each play; sometimes students will be given the option to stage a scene or recite a speech instead of a paper. Students are also given essay quizzes and tests on the plays studied in class.

Any drama course involves both listening and speaking skills, whether in class discussions of production, in actual production meetings and rehearsals, or in viewing and discussing student scene presentations in class. One skill stressed is the ability to watch and listen to scenes and speeches in a theater and then discuss those scenes and speeches critically without being unkind.

We watch films of professional productions and attend appropriate presentations when possible.

5. Reading List and Other Materials

The reading for Drama in Production comes from the following list, and is subject to change:

Midsummer Night’s Dream
Winter’s Tale
Twelfth Night
The Tempest
Merchant of Venice
Much Ado About Nothing

Ah, Wilderness
Mourning Becomes Electra
Long Day’s Journey Into Night
Strange Interlude
Desire Under the Elms
The Oresteia,
Robert Lowell trans.
Six Characters in Search of an Author
Zoo Story
Little Foxes
Waiting for Godot
The Birthday Party
or The Homecoming
Ubu Roi
The Venetian Twins
Lady Windermere’s Fan
The Real Thing
The Lady in the Van
Reasons to be Pretty
The Children’s Hour
Time Flies
Speed-the-Plow
Private Lives
The 39 Steps

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